One of my all time favorite pieces of furniture is Hans Wegner’s Shell Chair. While I am usually a fan of keeping things true to the designers original intentions, I have to hand it to Carl Hansen & Son for teaming up with textile giant Maharam to create a stylish line of upholstery options for the iconic 1963 classic’s 50th anniversary. The pattern choices and color pallets match the mid-century modern design aesthetic, and don’t diminish from the graceful lines of the chair itself.
“On the occasion of its 50th anniversary and ICFF, the perpetually innovative Shell Chair serves as a foil for Maharam’s diverse range of textiles, including homespun wool textures, re-editioned designs of the Wiener Werkstätte and Alexander Girard, collaborations with Hella Jongerius and Paul Smith.
20 special Shell Chairs, each with a different Maharam textile and coordinating wood frame, will be on view for a month as part of the Maharam Shell Chair Project starting May 17th at the Carl Hansen & Søn showroom at 304 Hudson Street.”
This morning when I was going through my RSS feeds of daily inspirations, I came across a piece about a new chair designed by “Design Concern” and manufactured by Magnus Olesen. The new “I-Sit” chair is really nice looking, but I said to myself, “What does this remind me of?” and then it hit me. Hans Wegner’s iconic “Papa Bear Chair and Ottoman from 1951.
The new I-Sit chair was designed with a different goal in mind according to the site. The criteria for the I-Sit was, “a project about user-driven innovation and methods to develop well-functioning furniture where you can sit and rest – focusing on the user.” As opposed to Wegner’s vision of “Setting the gold standard for general comfort, and beautiful design with its characteristically playful organic design.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the I-Sit chair is stunning. There are elements of it that remind me of Marc Newson’s design work for the Ford C21 concept car, and it definitely draws inspiration from Hans Wegner’s Papa Bear chair. The I-sit has wonderful lines, and from what I can tell it adds another level of comfort by allowing the person sitting in it to recline the chair. The chair is built up around a pressure moulded shell with slim legs of steel which give the design a both light and characteristic expression. The I-sit is the winner of a prestigious Red Dot Design Award, and is so deserving. It is a beautiful chair in its own right.
The thing is, I keep looking at that Hans Wegner chair, and thinking I’d rather own it.